Dems Attempt to End Corporate Welfare for Big Oil

There's no reason big oil companies like BP and Exxon are receiving government subsidies when we're looking at a budget deficit -- and that's why Dems are now moving to end the free paychecks for the corpo oil machines that damage our environment. Led by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-MT, next week Democrats in the Senate plan to introduce a bill that will wipe out billions in tax incentives from oil giants, and redirect the money into the budget -- money that could potentially help save social programs like Medicare that the GOP wants to obliterate. Politico reports:

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) sent a letter to colleagues Wednesday saying they were looking to offer something that “maximizes our chances of garnering bipartisan appeal.”

Baucus is drafting a bill that follows a blueprint he released last week that would exempt oil and gas companies from the Section 199 deduction for domestic manufacturers, reduce the tax credit for royalty payments to foreign governments and impose an excise tax on certain Gulf of Mexico leases.

His blueprint would target the saved federal dollars toward programs to reduce oil use. These include incentives to “encourage increased production of cleaner and more affordable domestically-produced fuel by making it easier for manufacturers to produce and for consumers to purchase.”

Even some former corporate oil heads agree with ending the subsidies. Last week, it was reported that former Shell Oil head John Hofmeister said that since gas prices produce such a windfall to oil companies, the government tax breaks were unnecessary. And last week, John Boehner mentioned that he thought companies weren't 'paying their fair share.' Whether he'll vote that way remains to be seen -- he backtrackedon the comment shortly after -- but it seems like such an obvious thing to do, there might be some hope Dems can push it through.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at May 9, 2011, 7:16am

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